The Florida legislature recently passed sweeping tort reform measures, giving many injury victims less time to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for their harm.
Because the new laws make it more challenging for car accident victims to pursue financial relief, hiring an experienced attorney is crucial to recovering compensation and justice. If you were injured in a car accident in Florida, keep reading to learn more about the new statute of limitations, potential exceptions to the deadline, and how a lawyer can help.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that establishes a deadline for bringing a legal action. In civil cases, the law dictates how long a person has to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses after an accident. The filing deadline varies depending on a few different factors.
What Is the Florida Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?
Recent legislation in Florida shortened the time a person has to file a car accident lawsuit. Previously, car accident victims in Florida had four years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, the law now gives these plaintiffs just two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit based on negligence, the theory under which most car accident claims are brought.
Exceptions to the Florida Statute of Limitations for Car Crashes
While most people will have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if the at-fault party flees the state to avoid liability, the statute of limitations may “toll” or pause until the individual returns to Florida.
Additionally, if an injured person is mentally incapacitated or under the age of 18, the statute of limitations may toll until the person recovers or turns 18, respectively. However, in the case of a claimant who is mentally incapacitated, the individual must be capable of filing their lawsuit within seven years from the accident date.
An experienced Florida personal injury attorney can review the specifics of your case and determine if any exception may apply.
What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the statutory deadline to file your car accident lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case, regardless of its merits. If so, you will lose your right to seek compensation in civil court. Thus, hiring a car accident attorney familiar with the Florida statute of limitations for car accident claims is crucial to protecting your right to pursue compensation.
Talk to Our Experienced Pensacola Car Accident Lawyers
Figuring out the statute of limitations for a Florida car accident can be challenging due to recent changes to the law. Let an experienced personal injury attorney with Cardoso Law, PLLC, handle the details of your case to ensure you meet all the necessary deadlines. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation with our experienced Pensacola car accident lawyers. We can review your case and explain the statute of limitations for car accidents in Florida.